February 25, 2019



Welcome back, Friends!  We are heading into the last third of the school year already – Wow!  It’s gone so fast!  We have lots more fun to pack into the coming Spring!  This will also be the beginning of a transitional, decision-making time for most of you, and I want you to know that I am completely aware of just how difficult this time can be.  Rest assured that I will work with you to determine the best outcome for your child as he/she transitions into the world of “real school,” and I will be nothing but transparent as we partner to make this process a positive milestone focusing on new beginnings!

Wrapping It Up

In the week before break, we enjoyed the silly story, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose.  We focused on activities and discussions about “love” as it relates to our feelings about people and things in our lives.  We learned about many different ways we can express our love, and how we express love differently between things we love and people we love.  The children enjoyed exchanging Valentines with each other, as we emphasized the giving  (not just the getting) part of showing our love.  We introduced and practiced the letter “Vv,” and continued with the color pink and the heart shape.  Thank you to all who sent flowers, sweets and cards for us!  I am positive that we have the most generous group of parents in this school!

Coming Next

         

This next two weeks, we will continue a study of our feelings as they relate specifically to friendship.  Both stories,   Hooray For Hat by Brian Won and Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses  by Kimberly and James Dean, feature a main character with lots of very moody friends.  In the first story, Elephant is upset until he receives a package containing several hats.  He stacks all the hats on his head, and goes out to show his friends.  As he meets each of his grumpy friends, Elephant shares one of his hats to cheer them up.  When they all try to figure out a way to make their friend Giraffe feel better, they come through with the perfect gift – the entire stack of hats!   One of our favorite characters, Pete the Cat, begins the next story feeling…you guessed it – grumpy!  Frog rides by on his motorcycle and gives Pete his cool sunglasses, and Pete begins to see things in a better light!  “The birds are singing, the sky is bright, the sun is shining, I’m feeling alright!” Pete sings as he begins to visit his friends.  Just as with Elephant, Pete shares his gift with each of his friends to help them feel better.  When Pete’s sunglasses break, it is the grumpy, old owl who changes things with his wise words, “Pete, you don’t need magic sunglasses to see things in a new way.  Just remember to look for the good in every day.”  Both of these stories feature a repetitive, rhyming text for lots of practice with our phonemic awareness skills, and they both contain lots of rich, descriptive vocabulary and predictable sequencing.

We will introduce and practice the letter “Ll,” and we will then review letters “Nn,” “Dd,” “Mm,” and “Vv.”  We will continue to practice the color pink and the heart shape through the remainder of this unit.

Dates to Remember

  • February 25th-March 1st – Read Across America Week, Promoting reading in all communities:
     25th-
    Wear Hats
    26th-
    Wear Green
    27th-
    Wear Animal Print
    28th-
    Wear Crazy Socks

    1st- 
    Dress as Book Character/Kindergarten Book Parade
  • March 7 – 6:00-7:30 pm – STEM Family Night – There will be lots of great activities for our little guys!  I hope to see you here!

 

February 11, 2019

I would be remiss if I didn’t stop to thank you all for the gestures of appreciation you have showered us with in the past three weeks!  Thank you all so much for the office supplies, gift cards, personal notes, and sweet treats!  We (teachers, paras, therapists) know how fortunate we are to be partnering with you all to nurture and guide your children in this Frey Elementary School Family.  Your support is paramount to us being able to bring success into what we do for our little guys!

Wrapping It Up

Our community helpers unit was a big success, as we explored so many different possibilities for our futures!  We have climbed ladders, sprayed hoses and balanced on fiery beams to rescue lowercase letters and babies.  We saved the runaway bus as we matched our shapes, studied our own fingerprints under magnification and directed traffic as police officers.  We have flossed and brushed giant teeth as we pretended to be dentists, and we made delectable desserts as chefs.  We took care of boo-boos with LOTS of bandaids, listened to our heartbeats, and took our blood pressures as doctors and nurses.  We also rode our mail trucks as we delivered letters to mailboxes as postal workers.  All this, and we still had to go to “school” and do Ms. Kelly’s job a few times!  We introduced and practiced letters “Nn,” “Dd” and “Mm,” and last week, as February began, we introduced the color pink and the shape of heart.

Coming Next

This week, we will celebrate LOVE within the context of the good feelings we have about our families and friends, with the seasonal story, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Collandro.  Just like all of the other “Old Lady” stories, the quirky main character swallows an ever-increasing list of seasonal objects.  It provides a rhyming text with funny illustrations, but this time the hungry old lady swallows a rose, lace, glitter, jewels, candy and a card!  While reinforcing lots of fun vocabulary, this story provides opportunities for sequencing, prediction and re-enactment, and provides a rich means of supporting seasonal concepts.

We will continue practicing the color pink and the heart shape, and we will introduce and practice the letter “Vv.”

On Thursday, February 14th, we will do a simple Valentine exchange and a special snack.  We will design and make our own Valentine bag or box during the week, while we practice what it means to love something or someone, and how it makes us feel.  Please send in one Valentine for each friend in our class by Wednesday.  The list is as follows:

Lake, Joseph, Logan, Gabriel, Walker, Aaron, Arire, Grant, Maddox, Jayoni

Dates To Remember

  • February 14th, 2019 – Class Valentine exchange
  • February 18th-22nd, 2019 – Winter Break, School closed

Needed Items

  • bottles of white school glue

 

January 22, 2019

One of my favorite Dr. King quotes is the one that ends with, “…but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”  And, forward we will go this week as we spend some time engaged in a few simple activities to celebrate that we can all be different in some ways, and we are all the same in so many more!

Wrapping It Up

We have had a blast with our S-N-O-W unit, so far!  We have gotten “bundled up” in every piece of winter clothing you can think of, and we explored appropriate clothing for every season.  We caught snowflakes on our tongues, had snowball fights, went ice-skating and sledding, and we LOVED getting to jump in giant piles of the white stuff!  We have made snow angels, snowflakes to eat, and we have made snowmen in every size, shape, color, and … consistency.  All this, and without a single flake of snow!  And, I’m sure you’ve heard lots of the songs we sang for this unit (I think this song collection might make it to the top of the charts!)  We also spent a good portion of our story and learning-center times focusing on rhyming words, opposites, sequencing, and size concepts.

Coming Next

      

We get to play with snow for one more week, as we segue into our community helpers unit, with Snowmen At Work by Caralyn Buehner.  This book has very engaging pictures and a rhyming text to describe these adorable stacks of snowballs doing everything from roadwork to serving as President of the USA!  The illustrations depict numerous job-related details, without being too cluttered, and there are four hidden animals to “search and find” on each page!  A bonus visual discrimination task!

Clotheline Clues to Jobs People Do, by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook,  comes next in this unit with another pre-literacy challenge, inference! This interactive, question and answer book requires children to guess what job each community helper does by looking at the different parts of the uniform hanging on the clothesline and the special equipment they use placed about the scene.  Additionally, we will analyze each page to discover the hidden connections the different participants have by helping one another as they go about their day.  Our kiddos will enjoy the rhyming text and simple illustrations, as we explore more jobs.

Our last simple, but entertaining book, Mat Man Hats by Jan Z. Olsen, includes a character we are very familiar with through one of our handwriting programs, which I will detail in the Sparkle of Interest section below.  In much the same interactive method used in our last story, Mat Man Hats shows the main character wearing a different hat representing a specific community helper on every other page.   After the children guess the occupation, the next page uses rhyming text to describe the job under the hat.

This is always a great unit to touch on so many concepts.  With our new Fire Station that Jamie King (Aaron’s mom) made for us, we will be doing a lot of dramatic play!  We have lots of pretend uniforms and hats to represent several community helpers, but if you happen to have any costumes at home that would fall in this category, feel free to send those in!  We will be doing this unit for three weeks, so the more, the merrier!

We will continue the color white and the diamond shape through January, and as February begins we will introduce the color pink and the  heart shape.  Today we  will introduce and practice the letter “Nn,” and “Dd” and “Mm” will be the letters of the week for the next two consecutive weeks.

A Sparkle of Interest

Handwriting Without Tears, by Jan Z. Olsen, OTR, is a tactile, hands-on approach to teaching our kiddos how to write letters and numbers. It is only one resource we use for this skill, and we have picked and chosen the materials and methods from HWT to coordinate with our other writing curricula..  The “Get Set For School” preschool program includes manipulative wooden pieces that represent every stroke we use to write letters and numbers: small curve, large curve, short line, and long lines.  Children practice forming their letters on a worksheet depicting the proper placement of the pieces.  Once they can do that, they use the pieces on the blue mat to form them.  This program uses many other hands-on activities (i.e., personal magnetic board and magnets representing each stroke, personal chalk slates for “Wet, Dry, and Try,’ whereby we write the letter, the child uses a wet sponge to erase the letter, then he uses a dry sponge to trace the letter, finally following the same pattern with chalk themselves, and personal playdo mats to follow by rolling the dough into ropes to form the letters.)  A CD of songs is included to help children learn many skills related to pre-writing.  One of the songs is “Mat Man.”   Our Mat Man activities use the manipulative pieces of the curriculum to help us learn to draw a person, as we build him, piece by piece (while singing the accompanying song.)  After we build Mat Man, we then practice drawing him with crayons.  Once again, they are manipulating their writing strokes, but must draw a meaningful picture.Dates to Remember

  • February 18-22, Winter Break – School closed

Needed Items

Thank you all SO much for the supplies you provided as an appreciation gift.  We use cardstock and Velcro incessantly, and they are not provided by the school.  Your gifts will make many adapted books and symbols!  The other item we use daily and need is:

  • Antibacterial surface wipes

January 7, 2019

Welcome back, Friends!  We are so excited to be back and ready for more fun and learning!  If possible, please send in pictures of your little guys celebrating the holidays with your family and friends.  We will use these as conversation starters in some of our small group and large group discussions.  Children tend to open up and talk about concrete representations of their experiences much easier than trying to rely on their memories of such busy, exciting times.  We will spend the next week engaging in relevant conversations about their holiday fun. Also, thank you so much to our room mom, Michele Hynes, and to all of the parents who came to help with our holiday party!  I think the kids had a great time, and we made some memories, to be sure!  Michele Hynes has shared some photos of that day, and Michelle McKenzie and I will be emailing some other special pictures in the next couple of weeks.

As a side note, I really mixed things up in the last blog as far as our introduction and practice of the letters “Gg” and “Xx.”  I had indicated that we would spend December reviewing several letters, when we really spent our last two weeks engaged in activities to learn the letters “Gg” and “Xx.”  This was due, in part, to a scheduling error I made at the beginning of the school year when I laid out my plans for the year.  So, we are back on track, and will spend these next two weeks in review of the letters I have indicated below!  Let me know if you have questions or concerns about my blunder!

Coming Next

      

The Jacket I Wear In the Snow, by Shirley Neitzel, centers around a little girl who wants to go outside and play in the snow.  We follow her as she must don layers and layers of clothing, until she is outside and, to her relief, can come in and take them all off!  The scaffolding text (much like The House That Jack Built) is presented in a  rebus-like fashion and helps our pre-readers follow along with the story more easily. The rich, sequential and rhyming vocabulary adds some colorful descriptive terms the kids will enjoy using!

Sneezy the Snowman, by Maureen Wright, is the story of a very cold snowman and his many attempts to get warm.  Each attempt causes him to melt, and his helpful friends must rebuild him each time.  As the children happily donate items of Winter clothing to Sneezy, much like our main character in the previous story, he eventually becomes too hot.  His friends solve Sneezy’s problem with a yummy surprise (ice cream,) until he feels just right!

Both stories are wonderful for introducing and practicing the related vocabulary for our Winter weather and clothing concepts, as well as for supporting various sequencing and rhyming activities.   One way to reinforce the stories at home would be to talk about the appropriate clothing for the season.  If possible, send your children with various mittens, scarves, earmuffs, hats, etc., that we can share and talk about.  Just be sure to label everything with their names!

Along with the concepts of focus through our stories, the next month we will emphasize the color white, the shape  diamond, and review the letters “Jj,” “Pp,” “Aa,” “Tt,” “Hh,” “Gg,” and “Xx.”   Continue to point out words that begin with or contain these letters and the sounds they make.  Discuss things that are white or diamond-shaped as you encounter them this winter.  Although we aren’t wishing for a blizzard, some Winter snow would be a nice way for our kids to continue learning and living these concepts, as they develop a greater understanding about the world they live in!

Dates to Remember

  • Friday, January 11th, 2019 – progress reports go home
  • Monday, January 21st, 2019 – Martin Luther King, Jr. day observation – school closed

December 3, 2018

It is hard to believe that we are already heading into the halfway point of this school year!  Our little “gumdrops” have made so much progress, I am excited to see what the rest of this year brings! Every one of them will be graduating from preschool in the Spring, and it seems like we just got started!  We’re going to make the most of the next 5 months!

Thanks so much to the  for the generous grant awarded to our Preschool class!  We received several STEM materials that will allow us to explore more physics and engineering with age appropriate play and activities!

Wrapping It Up

We learned about farm life and the importance of animals who give us so many things we need.  We “milked” a cow, then made our own butter!  We watched how sheep are sheared, and we carded real wool to make it straight and smooth for spinning!  And, we gathered eggs and scrambled them to make a tasty snack packed full of protein!  We discussed many of the fruits and vegetables grown on farms, foods the different animals eat compared to the things we eat, and made some applesauce that any person or animal would love!  All of our farm stories highlighted the times of day, from sunrise to nighttime, so we spent lots of time talking about things we do at certain times of day.  Finally, we focused on table manners, “please and thank you,” and the numerous things we are thankful for!

Coming Next

Throughout the month of December, leading up to the long Holiday Break, we will focus on three classic fairy tales which were all arranged by Mara Alperin.  Needing no explanation, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Gingerbread Man, are the exact same stories we remember from our childhoods.  With all of the wonderfully rich children’s literature to choose from now, it’s easy to exclude these “old fashioned” favorites from my curriculum planning each year.  In fact, I have never used the first two stories in my classroom.  This past summer, while working on my plans for the year, I came across an article that discussed the many merits and advantages of using fairy tales to support literacy skills and character education in the preschool setting.  The article discussed how the tales often have a very distinct protagonist, highlighting the division between good and bad.  The moral choices of the characters are subtle however, so the lesson doesn’t come across as “preachy.”  Instead they open up the processes of critical thinking and inferring.  Children will begin to understand that making poor decisions often leads to negative consequences.  These stories also include repetitive lines (familiar to us) which allow for children to predict, fill in, rhyme, and understand numerous positional, quantitative, and describing vocabulary!  Think of:  “Little pig, little pig, let me come in…,” “It is I, big/middle/little Billy Goat Gruff!” and, “Run! Run, as fast as you can!…”  Plus, since these stories were created centuries ago, and have proven their appeal to children for hundreds of years, they open opportunities for teaching history and international settings.  Finally, fairy tales are full of adventure and suspense, which make them fun and exciting!  We will focus on the feelings and behaviors this time of year evokes, and ways we can make good choices and show gratitude, kindness and helpfulness all the time throughout the year.

This month brings us the color green and a review of shapes ,      ,      ,    and     .    We will introduce and practice the letters “Hh,” “Gg” and “Xx.”

A Point of Interest

It’s that time of year!!!  What time of year you ask???  You know, that coughing, aching, sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head, fever, so you CAN’T rest time of year!  We are all aware of the flu epidemic in our state, and unfortunately we are seeing many, many sick children and teachers.  Please- if your child is running even a low grade temperature, is coughing, sneezing, or oozing lots of stuff from the nose, do not send him/her to school.  Your child must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school.  If your child is vomiting or having diarrhea, he/she may not return to school until 24 hours have passed since their last episode.  Please know that we do all we can in our classroom to keep things sanitary and healthy, but we count on you to help us! Thanks you!!!

Dates To Remember

  • December 3-7 – PTSA Holiday Shoppe
  • December 19 @ 12:00 pm – Class holiday party and book exchange ( Each child will bring an age appropriate book, wrapped, with a tag reading: “To my Friend, from your child’s name.”  Books should cost no more than $5.00.  Please send these by Friday, December 14th, so we can be sure there are enough books.)  
  • December 20-21 – Early release – dismissal at 10:30 am (3-yr-olds) and 12:20 pm
  • December 24, 2018 – January 4, 2019 – Holiday Break – school closed

Items Needed

Thank you, Parents, for your generosity toward keeping our kiddos comfortable, safe and healthy while with us at school!

  • Antibacterial surface wipes

 

 

November 5, 2018

Wrapping It Up

The month of October, with all of the activities and lots of excitement it brings, opened a plethora of opportunities for our kids to learn and grow. Throughout the month, our little guys have learned about spiders, shapes and weather, and they have explored their feelings, and the feelings of others, with a variety of seasonal, multi-sensory activities.  They have raked leaves, walked on a spider web, tried on lots of fun costumes, and made faces in the mirror.  They have carved a jack-o-lantern and roasted the seeds, made pumpkin volcanos, pumpkin pie, and a pumpkin-head scarecrow.  Finally, they celebrated the season during our classroom fall centers with those of you who came that day! I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you all during conference week, because it’s a privilege for me to share the progress your children make each day they come to school!

Coming Next

*Parents – please note that in my lesson plan for the year, I got the order of our farm/Thanksgiving unit stories transposed.  They will be introduced in the order in which I have presented them here: 

                    

Our focus through our farm unit will be healthy foods, where food comes from, and as we get closer to Thanksgiving, table manners will be emphasized.  We will begin our farm/Thanksgiving unit with the book Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins. It’s a nice segue into November as we continue to explore the various signs of the season, the foods we eat, and the special activities and traditions the holidays bring. In Ten Red Apples, the farmer laments as his animals eat the apples from the apple tree, one-by-one, until he has none for his wife to bake into a pie  Counting and number recognition, repetitious phrases, animal names and sounds, and other funny surprises make this story a favorite, every time I use it for lessons.

The week before Thanksgiving, we will continue our farm fun with the story Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr. As you might guess, the farmer is ready for his turkey dinner, so the turkey takes off!  He hides all around the farm, and all of his animal friends help him.  Needless to say, the farmer’s Thanksgiving dinner consists of peas, mashed potatoes and grilled cheese sandwiches!  Once again, we will touch (gently) on where our food comes from, and we will discuss thankfulness, it’s meaning and everything we are thankful for.  We will also stress appropriate table manners (more than usual) with games, role play, puppets, and real experience.

The week following Thanksgiving, we continue our farm theme and introduce The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.  This is a lovely book with simple, rhythmic text about the cycle of a day on a farm where families of animals peacefully play and sleep. During the week we will touch on the time concepts of sunrise, morning, daytime, sunset, and nighttime, and the different things that happen on the farm, as well as some of the things we do during certain times of the day.

Since this is a 4-day week, we will review vowels “Ee,” “Ii” and “Uu.”  Then we will introduce and practice letters “Aa” and “Tt.”  Today we will introduce the color red and the   shape, and we will practice those concepts for the month of November.

A Point of Interest 

One day (usually the last Friday) of every month, we spend 30-45 minutes in a group sing-a-long session.  This session is led by some of our wonderful Kindergarten teachers.  We go to the cafeteria with all of the Kindergarten classes for some singing and dancing! This is such a nice opportunity for some inclusion and for our little guys to watch and learn from other, older children!

Dates To Remember

  • Tuesday, November 6, 2018 – VOTE!!! And it is a teacher inservice day.  NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS!
  • Thursday, November 15, 2018, 10:30-11:15 am – Thanksgiving Feast –  Come share a “before the holiday” turkey lunch and all the fixins’ with us! 
  • November 19-23, 2018 – Thanksgiving Break – school closed 

October 15, 2018

Just a reminder that next week is conference week and early release every day. This means we will be dismissing at 12:15 pm.  Please be sure that we know how your child is going home and I have a hand written note if they are going home a different way than usual.  If it is easiest for you to send in one note on Monday with your dismissal wishes for the entire week, that would be fine too!

Wrapping It Up

Our spider stories were a big hit, as we discussed more about rain and wind, but also learned some fun facts about our eight-legged, arachnid friends.  We did some spider walking, spider singing, spider throwing, and we made some wonderful webs of our own!  In the last issue of the blog, I indicated that our color this month was green, when in fact, we have been been focusing on orange! 

Coming Next

                   

Our next seasonal unit focuses on feelings, and how to understand and express our feelings.  The first story, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, is an all-time favorite for this time of year!  Our main character, the little, old lady, sees and hears some pretty scary things while out on a Fall stroll through the forest.  As it gets darker, she becomes increasingly frightened and runs back to the safety of her house.  Once she arrives home, she discovers some surprising evidence that sheds light on some new problems and feelings to explore!  This story lends itself to some fun sound play and actions, as well as prediction, sequencing, and discussions about our own fears and feelings.

In Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman, the silly cast of characters leads us to new and exciting destinations, climates and land forms to show us the one thing that makes them ALL very happy: underpants!  The clever and funny rhyming text will have the children laughing and reading along, as the monsters bring out discussions of happy/unhappy, mad/glad, scared, “loving,” etc., and ways we can express, or read these feelings in others, and describe what makes us feel these emotions.

We will continue the color orange and the  triangle, and this week we will review the letters “y,” “u,” “i,” and “w.”  Next week we will introduce and practice letter “j.”     

A Big Thanks     

If you haven’t been by our room lately, come see our fun “dramatic play” center.  Thanks to Jamie King, Aaron’s mom, we have the best, friendliest, haunted house in Cobb County!  Jamie has also volunteered to prepare all of the lesson materials we require for our “Learn to Move, Move to Learn” units!  This is an enormous help in our very busy classroom.  Thank you, Jamie!!! 

Dates to Remember

  • This week, Oct. 15-19 – Conferences: Release at 12:15 pm Mon-Fri
  • October 18, 2018 – “Tough Kid Toolbox, Behavioral Strategies For the Home” workshop for preschool parents, 9:30-11:00 am, Hawthorn Center, 1595 Hawthorne Ave., Smyrna
  • October 19, 2018 – Frey Family Movie Night, 6:30-9:30 pm
  • October 27, 2018 – Freyday on a Saturday
  • October 31, 2018 – Class Fall Centers, 11:30 am-12:15 pm – Kids can wear their costumes and parents are welcome!
  • November 2, 2018 – Frey Fall Festival, 6:00-8:30 pm

Needed Items

  • CD Sleeves
  • Clear Packing Tape

October 1, 2018

That guy is supposed to be jumping up and down, but I still have not mastered the ability to paste animated gifs into this particular blog platform.  Sometimes it works and sometimes……just imagine him jumping on his thread, because he (I) had an amazing week of rejuvenation and fun!  And, I hope you all had some fun family time, too!  Let’s get ready and set…GO…! …JUMP, please…jump…

Wrapping It Up

Right before the break, we focused our instruction on a unit based on Boom! Boom Boom! by Jamie A. Swenson.  We had SO many activities to support this unit, since it encompassed a number of concepts (rain, storms, bedtime, fears, pets,) that we had a hard time deciding the most fun and relevant activities on which to concentrate our time/resources.  One component I wanted to discuss with these guys was the pets in their lives.  Pets are such an integral part of our families (if we have them,) and I didn’t get any feedback.  This is still a relevant topic if you want to share pets type, names, and any pictures you can email of your kiddo(s) with said pet(s)!

Coming Next

               

We head into more seasonal topics, while continuing our weather “watch,” with two books about some very busy spiders.  The first one, a familiar story to all (or is it?), Itsy Bitsy Spider by Nora Hib has many surprises hidden inside!  Itsy Bitsy Spider is trying to climb the waterspout, despite the rain, but what’s Incy Wincy Spider doing? And what about Itchy Nitchy Spider?  Are they climbing anything?  As you guessed, this book brings lots of fun and a whole bunch of rhyming and sound play for us to focus on our phonemic awareness skills!  The book has little die cut holes on each page, showing which of Itsy’s friends might be coming next, for some prediction and maybe some novel, silly words of our own!

Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tim Hopgood introduces just one spider, poor Walter.  Working ever so hard despite the wind this time, Walter’s webs are just too ‘wibbly-wobbly.”  In the blustery Fall weather, he begins spinning very simple shapes, such as a triangle and a square.  As he is determined and persistent, his shapes become increasingly more stable, until after much practice, he succeeds in spinning the most wonderful web!  This story highlights all of the common shapes we are learning for a nice review, and uses much alliteration to again reinforce some phonics and the letter sound “w.”  Additionally, both stories give way nicely to discussion about trying hard even when we want to give up!  These spiders were “optimistic” and “determined,” and these two character traits don’t always come naturally.  See my Point of Interest section below for more about this topic!

We will introduce and practice the letter “Ii” this week and “Ww” next week.  We will transition into the color green (mine and Joseph’s favorite color!) and the   triangle.  We will continue the “Rain” unit for our “Move to Learn” (MTL) exercises this week, and move onto the “Spiders” unit next week. 

Point of Interest

Optimism is a crucial element to experiencing lifelong success.  Research proves that children who develop optimistic outlooks achieve 30%-50% higher test scores than those children who are more pessimistic.  Also, children who have learning disabilities have a much greater chance of becoming depressed later in life, so teaching optimism from a young age is vital for our little guys.  And, it can be taught!  Instead of doing for your children what they can do for themselves, talk them through staying happy while they try.  Praise them for continuing to “hang in there” even when things get difficult, but don’t give in and do it for them. This diminishes their attempts and sends the message that they are incapable and shouldn’t bother to try.  This creates a “learned helplessness” that becomes very difficult to overcome as children get older. Model your determination in difficult situations. Come up with a self-talk chant like, “I think I can, I think I can,” when you run into problem while your child is nearby.  You may be trying to open a jar lid or pull on a boot.  Let your child know that not everything comes easily to you, and point out your determination and ultimate success!  

Dates To Remember

  • October 15-19, 2018 – Conference Week -progress reports go home- early release all week-Please email me if you desire to have a conference, so we can schedule a convenient time.  If I don’t hear from you, I will assume you DO NOT wish to meet for a conference.

Needed Items

You have all been AMAZING while providing items, and volunteering your time to partner with us in keeping your kiddos happy, healthy and engaged in fun and learning!  Thank you!  We aren’t currently in need of anything! 

September 17, 2018

Wrapping It Up

We have had bunches of fun in our safari tent as we learned all about many different zoo and jungle animals!  We jumped like kangaroos, stomped like elephants, slithered like snakes, swang (yes, that is correct the past tense) like monkeys, and roared like lions.  We discussed, and graphed, the differences between animals with fur, feathers and scales, and we designed and built our own cardboard box jungle with animals and plants that stand up on clothespin legs!  We threw beanbag fruit to our hippo target and made a big “bowl” of animal soup with the parachute!

A Point of Interest 

If you were with us last year, I talked a little bit about the movement program that we newly introduced after winter break last year.  “Learn to Move, Move to Learn,” by  Jenny Clark Brack, is a sensory-integrated, theme-based program that has us engaged in group movement activities throughout the day.  The program is based on seven steps to help us assimilate all of our cognitive, language, and social/emotional skills with our sensory and motor activation and integration, and the balance of these activities with the theme we are learning makes for an exciting and motivating way for us to learn the skills that will be necessary for later success.  The seven components include:  warm-up, proprioceptive play, eye-hand play, vestibular play, fine motor activities, balance, and cool-down.  To give you an example of how we implemented this program throughout our “zoo” theme, our warm-up was a cute, hand-holding in a circle, rhyme about monkeys swinging in a tree that we did during our morning circle.  Right before our learning centers, we did our vestibular activity which included having the children hold a ball between their knees while they jumped around the room like kangaroos.  We also worked in our eye-hand activity before centers, and this was a game of “feeding the hippo” by throwing bean bag fruit into a hippo toy’s belly from a distance that challenged the children, depending on their abilities.  During center rotations, we always have theme-related art, writing and manipulative activities which challenge and strengthen the children’s fine motor skills.  Right after lunch, and before our literacy circle, we got in our balance and proprioceptive activities.  For balance, we went back and forth between a “Monkey See, Monkey Do” game where the children had to follow my lead to stand on one foot, walk on tiptoes, touch the ground and lift one leg, etc., and a “Cross the Crocodile River” (walking on a balance beam) to deliver beanie animals to the other side.  For proprioception, we went back and forth between “elephant stomping” around the room, and making an “animal soup” with the small parachute, where the kids had to each hold a handle on the parachute and work together to bounce the beanie animals out of the chute.  Finally, the cool-down happens naturally in our literacy circle as we sing theme-related songs and read our story of the week. 

Hopefully, you understand the huge benefits of “Learn to Move, Move to Learn” in our preschool classroom as a nice augmentation to our existing curriculum!  The kids LOVE the activities, and it keeps us all up and moving!  I will post all of this information on a new page, so you can refer to it often.  On that page, Movement and Sensory Integration in the SNP, I will also provide some definitions that may help you understand how all of our experiences are integrated, and why some of our kiddos have difficulties making these connections.  Let me know if you have any questions!

What’s Next  

We will begin our unit about weather with the story, Boom! Boom! Boom! by Jamie A. Swenson.  This is a story about a little boy in bed when a thunderstorm starts.  The clever, cumulative rhyming text brings all of his pets, and his sister, into his bed as the storm gets worse.  Finally, the bed breaks as the storm subsides, and the boy can sleep by himself again.  We will delve into the science of why it rains, and why we need rain.  We will also discuss pets, and what it takes to help us keep our pets happy and healthy.  Please email me with any pets you may have, their names, how long in your child’s life have you had the pet/s, and send a picture if you can!

The week we get back, our weather/rain unit will continue as we head into some more seasonal topics, which includes the story of the “Itsy, Bitsy Spider!”  Stay tuned for more information after Fall Break.

Dates To Remember

  • September  24-28, 2018 – Fall Break – school closed
  • October 15-19, 2018 – Conference week-progress reports go home- early release all week-Please email me if you desire to have a conference, so we can schedule a convenient time.

September 4, 2018

Wrapping It Up

We have wrapped up our unit “All About Me” unit after two weeks spent exploring the wonderful body parts we have for “moving and doing” in From Head to Toe. Body parts and actions have been the focus of this lively unit where we explored all the things we can do with our bodies and brains, including how to stay healthy!  We did the Hokey Pokey, made our likenesses in collage, moved, shook, hugged, kissed, stomped, clapped, brushed our teeth, washed our faces and hands, ate healthy foods, and many more things to increase our awareness of our abilities and the many ways to keep ourselves healthy and strong.  We explored our differences and similarities through a variety of language-rich, multi-sensory experiences.

What’s Next?

         

Our study of differences and similarities continues in another rhyme-rich book, Wild About Us by Karen Beaumont.  As the animals are introduced on each page, so too are the individual characteristics and qualities that make each animal as special as the last one!  The vocabulary is overflowing with layers of adjectives and actions, and it’s purpose is to paint each animal in a unique way so every animal can feel proud of what makes them different.  This story lends itself to much more depth when we discuss ourselves, and the many things that make us each special.  We talk a lot about the word proud and the good feelings that come with our uniqueness!  

We then move on to an hilarious new story, There’s a Giraffe In My Soup by Russ Burach.  This book has us laughing as soon as the main character, a little boy, rides up to a restaurant and hands over his Big Wheel to the valet.  Each entree the waiter brings the boy is teeming with a silly, new zoo animal that has the boy more disgusted, and the waiter more exasperated, with every “bite!”  The rhyming text is also filled with rich descriptors, but also lends well to some fun prediction.  It’s also a great story for teaching about humor, and the cause/effect relationships that come with each character’s experiences!

This week, we will introduce the color brown and the  square shape.  We will review the letters “b,” “s,” “e,” and “z.”

Dates To Remember

  • September 24-28, 2018 – Fall Break, School Closed

THANK YOU for all of your donations and supplies!  We need NOTHING!  You are such amazing parents and partners in the happiness and well-being of your children while they are here with us!!!